Dixon residents: Water rates going up each of the next four years

City Council approves increases, which public works director says stems from regulatory changes and rising cost of equipment

DIXON – Residents will be seeing a hike in their water bills.

The Dixon City Council approved raising water rates Monday to 7.5% this year, averaging around $4.60 a month for water users. That will be followed by a 5.7% increase next year, about $3.78, and 2.5% increases, around $1.74, the next two years.

In 2019, the city contracted with Willett, Hofmann and Associates for a water rate study, which originally recommended higher rate increases to build a better reserve in the water fund. Mayor Li Arellano Jr. suggested that they cap the increase at inflation, which was 7.5% earlier this year.

Public Works Director Matt Heckman said one of the goals of the rate study was to reflect covering costs of operational, maintenance and capital improvement goals. But it also creates a healthy cash reserve for the water and wastewater funds, avoids a large-scale increase in a single year, and attempts to minimize the cost impact for residents.

Increases are necessary to keep up with the rising costs of projects, equipment and new state mandates, he said.

“It’s really out of necessity with regulatory changes and equipment that needs to be replaced,” Heckman said. “That’s really the driver of this.”

Councilman Dennis Considine said the increases will help the city maintain the quality of services to residents while Arellano said the city will still be competitive when comparing rates with neighboring communities.

Wastewater rates will be frozen for residential customers for the next 4 years and then increase by 2.5%.

For large commercial water users, the water increases will be 2.5% this year followed by 12.8%, 9.3%, 8.6%, 7.6% and 7% in future years.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.